We think pleasure, wealth and the created order are not gods but gifts. We think that the State, the Corporation, and Individualism are nice things but not ultimate things. And, supremely, we believe that the Family, not the State, the Corporation, or the Individual, lies at the very heart of a healthy social order and even points us to eternity. For we believe that the Family is the Icon or living embodiment of the life of the Holy Trinity Himself, who created the social order and calls us to eternal life.
Franciscan prayer is about relationship with a God of overflowing love. It is discovering the God of love at the center of our lives and of our world and finding the truth of our identity in God. To enter into this relationship one must be a person of desire. God does not force us into a relationship of love but freely gives us the grace to respond to his invitation of love. Spiritual desire is the longing of the heart for relationship with God that brings happiness and peace.
ln a popular expression of the times, he (St. Francis) taught them ‘by word and example’ (verbo et exemplo). And, by their own testimony, he was for them a living example of what he taught: He edified his listeners by his example as well as his words; ‘he made his whole body a tongue’; ‘more than someone who prayed, he had become prayer’: these are some of the descriptions of Francis recalled by Thomas of Celano. That is, his whole person had become the message he was trying to communicate.
Our age is marked by increased globalization and commercialization. Today those things of the “life without,” money, power and status for example, are even more pervasive in all parts of our globe. Francis provides us with a succinct reminder of what should be our forma vitae: the life of the Spirit. Our task then is to constantly recall that our life should be the Gospel of Christ and not the propaganda of the world. When distracted by the trappings of the worldly life, we need to redirect our view to the Spirit.
The Internet assists our obsessed engagement with ourselves by disguising it as a fascination with others who—either by offering opposition or validation—keep us fixated on the self.
We should have a fixed center which, like the hub of a wheel, governs our movements and from which all our actions go out and to which they return; a standard, also, or a code by which we distinguish the important from the unimportant, the end from the means, and which puts actions and experiences into their proper order; something stable, unaffected by change and yet capable of development, which makes it clear to us who we are and how matters stand with us.